Dan Webster's TIFIA Reforms Get Florida Transportation Backing

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: June 24, 2014 3:55 AM
Dan Webster

Dan Webster

U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., wants to overhaul the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and he is getting the backing of industry leaders from the Sunshine State. 

Webster introduced what he has dubbed the “TIFIA 2.0 Act” on Friday. The bill has already been sent to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on which Webster sits.  

“America’s transportation and infrastructure system is the backbone of our economy and is a critical element for growth and job creation,” Webster said as he brought out his bill. “By prioritizing investable infrastructure, TIFIA 2.0 will improve access to affordable infrastructure financing for states and local governments, promote innovative public-private partnerships and accelerate delivery of large-scale public transportation projects and the jobs that support them.

“In an era of bloated government spending, wise and calculated investments are crucial. TIFIA 2.0 provides new money to the transportation and infrastructure system that will bolster our economy and expand opportunity for growth and success without raising taxes,” Webster added.

In its current incarnation, TIFIA authorizes federal loans and lines of credit to be used for important surface transportation projects. Webster’s bill would move TIFIA to rely on a  “sustainable, revolving fund that will continuously grow to meet our nation’s infrastructure needs.”

Under Webster’s proposal, projects that are fiscally responsible would be given first  priority. Webster insisted that his bill would not raise taxes or raise fees.

While Webster’s bill has yet to gain any co-sponsors in the House or a Senate backer, it did win the support of transportation leaders from Florida.

Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad insisted that Webster’s proposal would help transportation projects in the Sunshine State.

“Everyone understands that the Highway Trust Fund has solvency issues, and it will take ingenuity on multiple fronts to resolve this systematic problem,” Prasad said. “Ground-breaking projects like the Miami Intermodal Center, I-595, Port of Miami Tunnel and I-4 Ultimate have demonstrated how TIFIA can help advance major projects through public-private partnerships.”

Prasad added that he thought Webster’s bill would “bring new money to the table in an innovative way that supports Florida’s plans for infrastructure project delivery.”

Bob Burleson, the president of the Florida Transportation Builders Association, also said that Webster’s legislation would help save the Highway Trust Fund.

“It is no secret that the Highway Trust Fund will soon be out of money with no long-term, sustainable solution in sight,” Burleson said. “Rep. Webster has long been a leader in new ideas for funding Florida's and our nation's infrastructure needs and TIFIA 2.0 is another innovative approach we welcome and support.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (3)

Ellen Petrokiewicz
6:05PM JUN 25TH 2014
A good move on Mr. Websters part, and being a supporter of him and in his district is a plus as well. Alternative and assistance in transportation within this state is critical.
Mark Gotz
4:38PM JUN 24TH 2014
Money is being spent for projects that are perpetual losers. Case in point, why does Florida DOT subsidize TriRail to the tune of $30,000,000 per year? That is four times the amount of TriRail's operating revenue. Federal gas tax of 18.4 cents should remain in state to avoid administrative fees of federal government and redistribution. The Highway Trust Fund needs to be audited and if it has been, I would sure like a copy.
C Breeze
9:16AM JUN 24TH 2014
This smells of "bullet-train" and "shovel-ready-job" nonsense: "bullet-trains" have already proven to be never ending "black hole money pit" tax drains; AND Obama has already proven to America that "shovel ready jobs" is a "political JOKE promise to uninformed voters". Rep Daniel Webster (R-8th Dist Orlando Area) is a neophyte Congressman, but a self proclaimed "Contractor and Business Owner". Can ANYONE see a "money connection" here to the "Construction" and "Transportation" Lobbys in Florida and Washington, D.C. (If not, READ: Peter Scweitzer's "Extortion" about the bloated "money trails" throughout the halls & offices of Congress and into the pockets of our so-called "public servants" ...

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